I suppose this name being tossed at me on the heels of winning the CCM/AHL Rookie of the Month for December shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Max Görtz has been outstanding lately and it’s evident that his comfort level on the ice and with his new surroundings has improved and allowed for his game to really shoot upwards.
This season is Görtz’s first playing professionally in North America after having played 161 games in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) with Färjestad BK and Frölunda HC. The 22-year old from Höör, Sweden had a slow beginning for the Milwaukee Admirals but has since seen his game explode. He produced 15 points (5 goals, 10 assists) in 13 games in the month of December en route to taking claim to his aforementioned league honor. He is currently second on the team in points trailing team leader Frédérick Gaudreau by a single point of offense.
Without further adieu. Let’s all get to know the man I enjoy calling Maximus of the House Görtimus, Max Görtz.
Admirals Roundtable: What were your inspirations to play hockey?
Max Görtz: My dad. He played hockey and he brought me to the rink. Him and my granddad.
AR: When did you realize you were going to be doing this for a career?
Görtz: I don’t know. Maybe when I got my first chance in the Swedish Elite League [SHL] and I felt like I could play here.
AR: Who was the first famous player that you met?
Görtz: Nicklas Bäckström I think. That was the first famous one I met in person.
AR: What is your greatest hockey moment so far?
Görtz: I think it was my first goal in the Swedish Elite League [SHL]. That was the greatest one.
AR: Which probably goes right into this question. What was the most memorable goal that you’ve scored?
Görtz: Oh yeah! That would be that one. I think so.
AR: What is the strangest game that you’ve played in?
Görtz: Strangest game. I have to think. [pause] I don’t really know. (AR: Playing at 10:30 AM?) Yeah, that’s pretty rare to do at elite league but, yeah, I would say that though. (AR: Were you involved with both of those? Because it was like in the space of a week two.) Yeah, I was. It was horrible. (AR: Was that the first time that you played in an AM hockey game since you were like a kid?) Yeah, since I was maybe 10-years old. I played 9 [AM] one time. That was hard. But, in this league, 10:30 [AM] that was hard. (AR: That’s around the time maybe you get a practice in or something like that but that’s full-tilt go for it.) Yeah, you have to be up early – eat your breakfast – and be ready.
AR: What’s the most embarrassing moment in your hockey career?
Görtz: I don’t know. I’ve done a lot of embarrassing things outside of hockey but, on the ice, I don’t remember. (AR: It isn’t happening right now is it?) No! No. The most embarrassing would be my two lates [missing practice] when I come late, now. So that would have been embarrassing for myself. On the ice-hockey I don’t know. I can’t remember. When I was little I pointed my, I don’t know how you call it, I point my finger at the referee one time. (AR: You flipped him off?) Yeah, I was a little bit angry but I I was little too. I was like just 12-years old, so. (AR: So you Kevin Fiala‘d him.) Yeah, exactly. [laughs] (AR: We can all laugh about that now, right?) Yeah, it’s funny now.
AR: What’s the most painful moment you’ve experience so far?
Görtz: When I broke my wrist. I was 15 or 16-years old. I was playing really good then. I was practicing with the A team in Malmö. I played there when I was just 15 – 16-years old and I was like, “oh, this is my chance,” and I was playing really good. You play first league. We were ten teams in. There is a North and South league and then the best five in every league play a top ten league after Christmas. And we played that and I played really well and then I broke my wrist. Season went off. That was the most painful thing.
AR: What are your favorite uniforms in hockey?
Görtz: My hometown club, Frosta HC, we’ll say. That’s a polar bear one. I think that’s cool. (AR – failing miserably and thinking he said Frölunda for some reason: That’s the one with the big chief, right?) No, it’s a polar bear with like – he’s opened his mouth and his teeth are out. I like that one. [Editor’s Note: closer picture of the jersey – not Görtz pictured]
AR: Who is the funniest player that you’ve encountered?
Görtz: I would say John Klingberg. He’s so funny. So, yeah, I would say him. (AR: Was he a teammate of your’s in Sweden?) I played with him for half a year when I left from Färjestad to Frölunda. He was so funny.
AR: What is your favorite aspect of Milwaukee so far?
Görtz: They have Cheesecake Factory. I like that. That’s my favorite thing. (AR: [laughs]) No! The ocean. I went down – no, not the ocean (AR: Lake Michigan.) Yeah. It was nice to go there and look at that. It’s really nice there. The [BMO Harris Bradley Center] is nice to watch basketball. So, it’s some things. (AR: It’s unfortunate we have the basketball team that we do have -BUT- at least you get to experience it.) Yeah.
AR: What is your favorite food?
Görtz: I will say pasta, NO, tacos.. tacos.
AR: What is your favorite non-hockey hobby?
Görtz: Is it a sport or? (AR: …non-hockey. So it could be really anything.) Just hang out with my friends, play Playstation, watching TV shows, playing golf in the summer. That’s my favorite things I think. (AR: What TV shows?) Now I’m looking at Arrow. Probably I’ve looked at every TV show. I’ve seen Entourage, One Tree Hill, Gossip Girl… a little bit girl movies there but I like them. (AR: That was just your most embarrassing hockey moment by the way.) Yeah maybe! (AR: …for future reference.)
AR: What are your plans after hockey?
Görtz: Just take it easy. Do maybe some school work and see what’s coming after that. I have to work at things, have some work maybe, agent or something. I don’t know. Something about hockey I think but I don’t know right now because maybe if I play ten more years or longer I will probably be sick of hockey. Maybe some years without it wuld be nice. We will see.
AR: [Editor’s Note: Because Görtz drew a blank on “what is your favorite non-hockey memory?” I decided to let him pass and end with some high level improvisational skill using the Juuse Saros and Kristian Näkyvä in the background as my props] Add another question. You’re Swedish. These two guys are Finnish. What do you think of these two Finns over here?
Görtz: They’re nice. Some weird clothes but they’re nice. No, they are nice but I don’t like them now because they beat the Swedish team and they’re World Champions now. (AR: I see that they’ve been puffing out their chests. They’re all gloating over World Juniors.) Yeah. They’re fixing their hair a little bit more now and it feels like they’re the best in the world now but we have to take them down again. (AR: Hopefully you can keep them in check when [Vladislav Kamenev] comes back because they beat his team in the final.] Oh. Oh yeah. He had a moment there in the finals. So, we’ll probably be going hard on him. [laughs]
Thanks to Max Görtz for taking the time yesterday to do this interview. Tomorrow I’ll have Scott Ford in Fifteen. For those new to the program – Ford and I can talk for hours on end. That almost legitimately happened yesterday. The interview was phenomenal and received an amazingly unexpected pair of cameos that were brilliant. Stay tuned and, as always, please comment down below with who you would like to hear from next on Fifteen!